Updated: February 24, 2021 10:13:51 pm
The Punjab and Haryana High Court Wednesday posted the hearing on the bail petition of Dalit labour rights activist Nodeep Kaur for February 26.
Kaur, 24, a member of the Majdoor Adhikar Sangathan, is facing three cases, including charges of attempt to murder and extortion. In her bail plea, she has claimed to have been severely beaten up at a police station after her arrest by the Sonipat police on January 12.
Taking suo motu cognisance of her alleged illegal detention, the High Court had issued a notice to the Haryana government. On January 18, the Judicial Magistrate First Class, Sonipat had also ordered that Kaur be medically examined.
On Wednesday, the court of Justice Avneesh Jhingan said: “She (Kaur) was medically examined but the said report has not been placed on record by the State, rather only a medico-legal report under Section 54 CrPC is placed on record.”
After the state counsel sought more time to place the medico-legal report on record, the high court adjourned the matter for hearing on February 26.
On Wednesday, refuting allegations of assault in either police or judicial custody, the Haryana Police submitted that Nodeep Kaur did not raise these issues either in front of the Medical Officer or the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM). In its reply, the Haryana Police also pointed out that Nodeep made a provocative speech against the police before her arrest.
In the detailed affidavit submitted before the bench of Justice Jhingan, Haryana DSP Virender Singh outlined the alleged sequence of events of the day Nodeep Kaur was arrested. “…an information was received in Police Station Kundli, Sonipat, on January 12, 2021, regarding gherao of an Industrial Unit namely, M/s Shahran ELECMECH Pvt. Ltd. Plot No 349 Phase-4 Sector 57 HSSIDC Kundli and manhandling of the staff/management by certain members of Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan. The complaint referred to illegal extortion of money from the factory owners by the activists, under the garb of workers unpaid salaries. That Nodeep Kaur was one of the agitators and she made a provocative speech whereby she stated that they will attack and beat the police if they arrive on the spot today…”
The Haryana Police also submitted a video of Nodeep Kaur’s alleged provocative speech.
It has been further submitted that upon receiving the information of the incident, a police team, including the SHO of Kundli PS reached the spot, and tried to mediate between the two opposite sides. However, the agitators started beating the police officials with lathis without any provocation. “…As a result of these blows, 7 of police personnel including a lady constable Reeta, 1154/SPT sustained serious injuries…By the time our police personnel could re-orient themselves, most of the culprits had run away. However, they succeeded in nabbing Nodeep Kaur from the spot…”
The Haryana Police’s affidavit further mentions, “During the interrogation she disclosed that she along with her associates Shiv Kumar s/o Rajbir, Sumit s/o Dhanpat residents of Devru, Ashish r/0 Mukimpur and Sahil r/o Badwasni had formed an Union in the name of “Majdoor Adhikar Sangthan” and they took brokerage from the labourers for providing them salary etc from the factory owners and also extortion money from the owners.”
Regarding the allegations by Nodeep that she was assaulted, the Haryana Police submitted that she was taken to the police station and kept in a ladies’ waiting room accompanied by two female police personnel for the entire duration of her stay.
From the police station, the affidavit states, she was taken to Civil Hospital, Sonipat within a couple of hours of arrest for the mandatory medical examination. “She underwent not just a general medical examination but also a special medical examination by a lady Medical Officer G.H. Sonipat for sexual assault where she herself gave a written statement to the female doctor that she doesn’t want to be medically examined as she has not been assaulted on January 12, 2021.”
It has been further submitted by Haryana Police that Nodeep was then produced before the CJM within a few hours for her judicial remand, and she was escorted by two lady police officials. “Here again, she did not disclose/mention anything about any assault by police officials to the Learned Magistrate,” reads the affidavit by Haryana Police.
The Haryana Police has said that as per directions of the Magistrate, she was then taken to Karnal Jail the same night, accompanied by two lady police officials, where she is lodged for the last one month.
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